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Category Archives: Windows 7

Windows Automation / Macros with ALT+TAB (it’s a problem, apparently)

In hopes of keeping my inevitable carpal tunnel at bay, I set out in search of a way to automate some of my tasks. Being, unfortunately for this purpose, not on a mac with access to the famous Automator program, I had to find something similar.

All I wanted was to click a few buttons, hit record and be done. So I found just any old automation program, downloaded it and thought I was done.

NOPE.. automation programs in Windows HATE using ALT+TAB .. they freeze up! (The way that worked for me to get out of the freeze is to hit CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and that will stop most automation programs from recording).

Since my desired macro (which is quite fun to do manually, btw) looked like this:

Ctrl+C, Alt+Tab, Ctrl+V, Alt+Tab, Tab, Ctrl+C, Alt+Tab, Tab, Ctrl+V, Tab, Alt+Tab, Tab, Repeat

I had to find another way….

As soon as I let go of the idea that finding and integrating an automation solution was going to be a 2 minute job, I opened my mind up a little to the idea of writing a script, and found AutoHotKey.

AutoHotKey is fairly simple to use once you get over the script-jitters. Here are what I found to be the most helpful pages on the site:

Quick Start Tutorial | Send Keys & Clicks |

And specifically, all I needed to know was the following information:

  • Make a new script by creating a new text document with an extension of .ahk
  • Designate a hotkey (how to write the key names are on this page) by typing it first in the document, and follow it by 2 colons.
  • To have more than one command executed by a hotkey, put the first line beneath the hotkey definition and make the last line a return (just type return on the last line).
  • Typing an exclamation point means the Alt key (while putting an exclamation point in brackets, like so {!} means an actual, literal, exclamation point) and ^ means the Ctrl key.
  • Save the file, and double-click on your .ahk file to load it into an instance of AutoHotKey (you can have multiple instances running for multiple scripts).
  • If you edit your .ahk file, you have to reload it. To do so, find AutoHotKey in your windows taskbar, right-click and choose Reload This Script from the menu that pops up.

They have tons of options, but for a simple macro like mine here’s what I did.

I started out by writing out my script as instructed on the site.

#space::
Send ^c
Send !{tab}
Send ^v
Send !{tab}
Send {tab}
Send ^c
Send !{tab}
Send {tab}
Send ^v
Send {tab}
Send !{tab}
Send {tab}
return

However, that does not work. And here’s why…

AutoHotKey is awesome in that it will do those keystrokes so instantaneously that you can press your hot key, be done, and not even realize that it actually happened. While Alt+Tabbing, Windows brings up its gui for switching programs, and although it can disappear fast, it’s still there while AutoHotKey is pressing these keys for you like a little cyber madman. To counter this, we have to input some delays, like so:

#space::
Send ^c
Sleep 500
Send !{tab}
Sleep 500
Send ^v
Sleep 500
Send !{tab}
Sleep 800
Send {tab}
Send ^c
Send !{tab}
Sleep 800
Send {tab}
Send ^v
Sleep 200
Send {tab}
Sleep 500
Send !{tab}
Sleep 500
Send {tab}
return

And that’s it. ALL done. I ended up padding it with a lot delays through trial and error.

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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Windows 7

 

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Use your iPhone as a Wi-Fi Microphone (and what to do if ipconfig isn’t working)

If you’re like me, and you use a laptop that sits away from you on a desk, &/or don’t have or want a real microphone etc; You can use your iPhone or iPad (pretty sure) as a wireless mic – and the quality is pretty damn decent, albeit a fraction of a second delayed – but if you use headphones for things like skype, you won’t have any problems. I tried several “wi-fi microphones” in the app store, and this is the only one I could get to work at a usable level..

Search the iTunes app store for AirMic (or click right there), and download the companion app for your computer by clicking here.

On Mac, piece of cake.
On Windows, you’ll need to find your IP address to enter into the AirMic iPhone app…
To do that, click on the start button (that little circle with the windows logo inside it, at the bottom left corner of the screen) then it will allow you to immediately type something into the search box.. type: “cmd” without the quotations.
That will bring up the command prompt, a black & white boring looking little program.
now type: ipconfig /all and hit enter (that’s: ipconfig(space)/all ) – This will give you some network statistics about your computer. If you don’t see your ipv4 address in there (something resembling: 192.168.0.123), then type: ipconfig and hit enter – this will give you a shorter list of results.
Now, if typing ipconfig doesn’t work; (if it returns something like: “ipconfig is not a recognized command bla bla”) you will have to type in the path, or if you’re a more advanced user, you can create an environment variable.
Type in this without the quotation marks: “cd C:\windows\system32”
that will change the path, where the command prompt is effectively “looking”.
Now you can type “ipconfig” without the quotation marks, hit enter, and get your results.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in iPhone, Skype, Windows 7

 

Can’t eject hard drive (Windows 7)

If you can’t figure out why your external device won’t disconnect safely, here’s a quick way to find all the processes that are using it:

Download Process Explorer and go to find > Find Handle or DLL (CTRL + F) – type in your drive letter and hit search. You may get a ton of results (every process that contains that letter…) but all you have to do is sort the results by clicking on the “Handle or DLL” column,  and scroll down to the drive letter. You can then click on the process, and it will be automatically selected in the main Process Explorer window (where you can then right click it and select “Close Handle”).

Personally, none of my processes would close, but I was successful in safely ejecting the device anyways after trying.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Windows 7

 

Best way to set up a new install of Windows 7 & other tips

It’s easy to forget some of these things until you need them, so I’m making a list of what to do after installing a fresh copy of Windows 7, or getting a new PC. I will add to & edit this list periodically, and please, offer any suggestions you may have in the comments!

  1. Create a new non-admin user
  2. Apply a password to the admin user
  3. Search: msconfig and remove all unnessecary startup processes
  4. Search: features and remove all unnessecary features

To conserve boot drive space:

Move default folder locations off of OS partition:eg; User>Username>Desktop (Right click>Properties>Location Tab) – also do for all other folders (My Music, My Videos, My Pictures, My Documents etc;)
If you use iTunes, see this article on how to force it to use a drive other than the OS partition/drive.
If you use Evernote, you can change it by going to: Tools>Options General Tab: Change Evernote Local files off OS partition
Move the pagefile off of the OS partition: See this article (external link)
Use WinDirStat to see what files are taking up space.

Programs:

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in Recommendations, Windows 7

 

Force iTunes to use a different drive for idevice backups in Windows

Wow, had no idea iTunes was this stubborn about where it holds it’s files. Personally, I wouldn’t use it at all if I didn’t own an idevice. But ANYWAYS: if you have a small boot drive (in this new age of high cost & low capacity SSDs, and PC’s that come with pre-partitioned drives; it’s quite likely) you may want to make iTunes use a different drive for those spacious iPhone, iPad, iPod etc; backups. Here is how to do it.

We’re going to trick iTunes, because it’s a stubborn little child. We will create a junction, which will effectively redirect where iTunes tries to read and write files. First off, close iTunes. If you want to, now is the time to create your new directory on the other drive, and copy the old files over into it.

1. Go here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896768.aspx and download the Junction.

2. Extract the zip file into the root of your C drive.

3. Open the command prompt (click the start button, and type “cmd” to get to it.)

4. In the command prompt change your directory to the C drive by typing: cd C:\ and hit enter

5. Now we will use the junction file to do the redirect. we will type junction, then the directory path of your iTunes folder (can also see what this is in iTunes, by going to preferences > Advanced) For me my backups were going into C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes so that is what I’m using in this example. And then type the directory path that you would LIKE to use in quotation marks. So, for example, I typed:

junction C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes “D:\iTunes”

Then hit enter.

For good measure, I also made the change in iTunes (doesn’t help much without the junction, but this does work for just music)

You can do that by going into iTunes’ preferences, and under the advanced tab changing the directory – click ok to return to iTunes. Now in iTunes, go to File > Library > Organize Library – and in the pop-up box click “Consolidate Library” – now hit OK.

Now close iTunes, and delete those old files off your poor C drive.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in iPhone, iTunes, Music, Windows 7

 

Changing to a new hard drive with Media Monkey 3.2.1.1297 (windows 7)

Let’s say you’ve gotten a new hard drive, and are copying  all of your music over to the new one, and ditching the old one. Sounds simple enough.

If you use MediaMonkey to manage your music, you’ll notice a bit of a problem after you copy everything and unplug the old drive – it can’t find any of your music! It will all be grayed out. So, Let’s fix it:

What doesn’t work: I first tried changing drive letters by opening regedit, going to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > MountedDevices & Finding \DosDevices\”yourdriveletter”  right clicking on it & deleting the old drive letter – then restarting to apply. Then, opened Computer Management (right click on my computer and select “manage”) and went to Storage>Disk Management, right clicked on the new drive and selected “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” and assigned the old letter to the new drive, and restarted once more for good measure. (hopefully someone may find those steps useful for other purposes).

MediaMonkey uses the drive Serial Number as the identifier. So to get MM to cooperate with your plan of using a new drive, you must open up the MM database and forcefully update it. Thankfully, THIS guy has written an excellent little tutorial (and provided tools!) on how to do just that: http://www.plasticsun.com/GiantInternational/Misc/MediaMonkeyNewDrive.htm (took some searching to find, so hopefully more people can find it through here.)

If you tried updating, rescanning etc. in MediaMonkey before you did any of this (like i did), you’ll have duplicates of all tracks.. grey, black, grey, black, grey, black etc. you know what I’m talking about. To remedy that: Click on “Library” in the file tree, click on 1 song, then hit CTRL+A to select all – then with all tracks selected, go to File > Locate Moved/Missing Tracks. Superb! (Finding the missing tracks under Library > Files to Edit > Dead Links like I’ve read in some places – yielded absolutely no results for me.)

This really shouldn’t be necessary to do all of this, but it’s a small price to pay imo, plus… how often are you going to need to do this? – MediaMonkey is one of the only good players out there that can handle large libraries like it’s nothing. iTunes? That’s a joke, even on OSX. It starts choking on a moderate amount of files – With 30,000 files and counting, iTunes is basically unusable & don’t even think about using a home media server with it. Songbird? It’s closer, but it’s a major resource hog – shame because it was very promising.

ANYWAYS… there’s that.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2010 in Music, Windows 7

 
 
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